ESOL in Goochland County

Just another Goochland County Schools Blogs Sites site

ESOL in Goochland County - Just another Goochland County Schools Blogs Sites site

G21 Raising Awareness of Child Labor

The Project Based Learning Activity entitled “Raising Awareness of Modern Day Slavery (Child Labor)” focuses on twenty-first century skills such as creativity, innovation, collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking, teaching others, ethical and emotional awareness, cultural competence, managing time and resources. My two middle school classes created the driving questions for their projects. My grade six’ class decided to create a driving question of “How can we create a commercial to raise awareness of child labor?” Grade seven’s driving question was  “How can we create a story to raise awareness of child labor?” (click on attached Renae Townsend G21 PBL Project)

My students followed three rubrics from Buck Institute, the creativity & innovation rubric, collaboration rubric, and presentation rubrics to help them understand and apply the project expectations. Throughout each class period, students had a project work report where they signed a group contract, created a project calendar, decided on task roles, coordinated a presentation day checklist, and completed a self-reflections on their project work (both daily and final project). You can access all of these handouts at following Digital Destinations wiki space, entitled the PBL St Kit Project Management Tools. During this project work report, my students reflected everyday in schoology under the class group that I created. The schooogy interface offered direction for my students so that they could see what each group was doing and could provide feedback to each other.

The reproducibility of the project by others was implemented when the GMS Language teachers asked my students to participate in the Language Fair. This amazing opportunity allowed for a public presentation of my student projects, even when the technological parts of their projects were not entirely finished. Fortunately, my students had done the majority of their research, so they were able to present their information in an oral presentation during the fair. They also supplemented their oral presentations with a “hands on” activity of having their audience create pinwheels and write down specific statistics related to child labor on the pinwheels. The impact of the learning for my students was emphasized when my one student, Cassidy, stepped to the front of the room and made a spontaneous and “improvised” presentation to her audience. What was remarkable about her presentation was the knowledge she demonstrated of the content and the enthusiasm she showed.

Finally, the impact technology had toward learning is demonstrated in the fact that my students were able to create multimedia presentations on an i-pad or the computer using several different apps in the workflow which incorporated planning, creation, and authoring or publishing on the one device. On the SAMR model, I believe that my students achieved the modification and possibly the redefinition level. They created i-movie commercials and a power point story, which they hope to display publically in the following ways. One, they will visit classrooms to present their projects to classmates. Second, they created QR codes that they will put up throughout the hallways of the school, to draw attention to their work and to spread the word about child labor. Finally, they will publish their stories on the Richmond Justice Initiative website, which will be displayed to the general public. The work will be sent (with parental consent) to RJI as soon as it is signed.

The advice I would provide for a colleague wanting to undertake this same project is to be willing to make changes or supplement materials while students are completing the project. Sometimes I had to tailor the scaffolding for specific groups with very short notice. For example, I noticed that students really struggled with was the creativity requirement of the project (especially my seventh grade boys). I had to provide scaffolding for them throughout the project. For example, I helped them create a story line diagram with plot/climax/etc, provide them handouts on power verbs/adjectives to insert into the story. While my sixth grade girls worked amazingly well together as collaborators, I noticed that my seventh grade boys had no knowledge of how to work together or collaborate. My solution was to create a separate activity for them where we focused on the language of collaboration. See Collaboration_Scaffolding_Worksheet. We also created a word wall so that the boys could refer to the language of collaboration while they were working. Both groups of students really struggled with sequence; or where to insert their research and authentic expert information into their projects. ***Remarkably, the authentic expert information for seventh grade was gleaned from the first hand experiences of one of my Mexican students who had first hand experience of crossing the border.

Additional advice for colleagues wanting to undertake this same project would relate to my own experiences as a teacher in implementing the PBL. When I actually decided to implement my lesson plan with my students, I experienced some anxiety. For the first time, I wasn’t in charge as a teacher and I had to force myself to “go with the flow.” My students decided the “driving questions” and they “set the calendar dates,” which was contrary to everything I’ve ever done as a teacher. Again, my biggest challenge was to know when I was required to step out and let my student’s take charge and when I was required to step in and provide scaffolding or additional exercises for my students.

What I might change about the experience, as documented in my plan is the following. First off, I would suggest that a teacher actually spend more time observing and understanding the ins and outs of a PBL before they implement it in the classroom setting. Perhaps they could visit other classes and collaborate with other teachers before they implement the project in their own class. I didn’t have this experience and it would have helped me in the implementation of the PBL in my classroom. Before implementing the PBL in my class, I spent a lot of time viewing videos of other schools that are implementing PBLs, researching Buck Institute lesson plans, gathering the rubrics, understanding what a driving question was, and understanding how to create a “Project Wall.”  The PBL course that Dr. Hendron offered this past winter made this experience possible. I spent a lot of time outlining the PBL lesson; but the learning curve for me was greater than I anticipated.

Here are two of the finished products:

Paul Fernandez Story


Annual ESOL Volunteer Luncheon

Yesterday, April 25th, I was pleased to host my 6th annual ESOL volunteer luncheon to recognize my volunteers for the hours they have spent to enrich and enhance the lives of my ESOL students. Many of my volunteers work either in-school or after school tutoring to help ESOL students with homework and preparation for SOL tests. Here is a tally I made of the hours in just the past year that my volunteers have spent so far in service to Goochland County’s ESOL students.

Following are pictures of the volunteers, former volunteers, cohorts, and friends who attended the luncheon yesterday.



Language Fair; Raising Awareness of Child Labor

This year, the middle school ESOL students have been busy completing a Project Based Learning activity in which they are raising awareness of child labor.

The primary goal of a PBL is to present the final project to a live audience. For this reason, we were delighted to be invited to participate and display our work at the World Language Fair hosted by Leona Barnes and Katy Jones. The language fair was school-wide, with each room partitioned off for different activities.

The GMS ESOL students presented their PBL to visitors, made pinwheels, and streamed a video on child labor, all in an attempt to raise awareness of child labor.

Following are some pictures of our visitors and their participation.

World Language Fair

This next week, the GMS ESOL students will be participating in the World Language Fair. We will be displaying our work from our project based learning activity, which involves raising awareness about child labor.

The activities of the day involve the following:

Streaming videos for the public, from “Made in a Free World

Encouraging visitors to start their own awareness campaigns and start their own fundraisers.

We will also be making pinwheels to raise awareness of child labor/abuse.


Ms. Geri

Following are some pictures of my volunteer, Ms. Geri, who meets with two of my ELLs each week, one in Kindergarten and one in third grade.

Ms. Geri supplements the grade level content my students are currently working on (i.e. Math or Reading). She does this by following our teacher’s blog postings and lesson plans. She also communicates with the teachers. I’m so thankful for her intervention!!! The ELLs always tell me “Ms. Geri” updates whenever I see them:) She makes her tutoring times special and exciting…But, she also ensures that my students receive plenty of one-on-one review in areas in which they need extra instruction. Thanks Ms. Geri for all you do!!!!

Visit to the Kindergarten

On April 2nd, my two High School ELL level 1 students made a trip to read story books to Ms. DeLong’s Kindergarten class. In class, we had been practicing these children books for pronunciation and fluency. What better idea to give my student’s confidence! I was so proud of my teen-aged ELL’s, who read their books confidently and fluently to this small group of Kindergartners, some of which are ELL 1′s too. They also were prepared to answer the K’s questions-as we also practiced potential questions that the students might ask. Surprisingly, we were right on target with some of their questions…


“I Have a Dream”; Way to Decipher Poetic Elements and to Build Fluency

In ESOL resource classes, grades 6-8, we have been studying Martin Luther King’s speech as part of Black History Month and also as a precursor to my G21 lesson, which begins in the month of March and will touch on issues related to human rights and human justice.

Here are the activities we have done this far with the “I Have a Dream Speech”

1). We read the speech, stopped at each paragraph and deciphered poetic elements that Martin Luther King uses. For example, in the first paragraph of his speech, MLK states,

“This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice.”

For this activity, we looked up words such as “beacon” or “seared.” Then, we drew pictures of these images in the columns, as a means of deciphering this figurative language.

i.e. For “Beacon of Light” we drew a lighthouse shining light on a person. For “seared in the flames” we drew a symbol for fire and then wrote the word “justice” and put an X across it. We then shared our pictures, discussed the poetic elements (i.e. metaphors and similes”) and then used the key vocabulary words in own own sentences as a means to familiarize students with the usage.

2). We summarized paragraph’s 4 and 8 of “I Have a Dream” speech. Students filled out graphic organizers in which they recorded the main ideas of these paragraphs. Then, they summarized the paragraphs in their own words and orally shared with classmates what they thought the paragraph said.

3). We listened to the speech “I Have a Dream” on our Promethean Board so that the video was life size and we could hear MLK clearly. We read the speech along with MLK as a means to practice fluency. My hope is to show the same speech again next class, this time using the Winchester’s Public School’s version of “I Have a Dream” speech. I will ask student to again read along out loud as a means of practicing fluency.

This entire activity fulfilled the ELL language domains of Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. In addition, it tied into the VA SOL standards related to reading comprehension, deciphering poetic elements, and history SOL’s re: to the civil rights era. Most importantly, this activity provided students a larger picture of the character traits of a true hero. It also provided students a picture of those in the past who fought for something greater than ourselves, and who fought through the use of passive resistance. This subject ties in nicely to my G21 activity, in which I hope to focus on issues re: to human justice and equality.

New Volunteer for the High School

I want to welcome a new ESOL volunteer to the Goochland High School volunteer program. Rebecca, a talented local architect, has offered to tutor a high school ESOL student once a week in Geometry.

Rebecca boasts of a three year experience of teaching English as a Foreign Language in Mexico. In addition this this experience, she already has made personal connections to ESOL families in the Goochland community. Recently, she has organized a “Coffee and Conversation” event in which she meets with several Hispanic mothers in the Goochland Community who need to improve their English speaking skills.

Thank you so very much Rebecca for your time and consideration toward ensuring that my Goochland ESOL student meets her academic goals.  Also, thank you for also devoting your time to working with Hispanic families so that we can bridge language barriers, thus helping these individuals to become contributing members of our community!


Following is a picture of my high school ESOL student who is proudly part of the Goochland High School JROTC program. I want to give a special thanks to Major Michael Petruzziello and Staff Sergeant Daniel Strong, who both have a background working with ESOL students in their prior school system. Both JROTC staff have already helped me, as ESOL teacher, and were instrumental in helping this ESOL student to adapt to school culture and understand appropriate social skills and interactions during his first year in a U.S. High School. They have also been instrumental in helping me meet the learning goals on my student’s Individual Instruction Plan (IIP) under the category of “Social Instruction” which involves the listening skill of following simple commands pertaining to classroom routines using illustrations (e.g., “Close your book.”)

Thanks to the JROTC program at Goochland Highschool, which serves not only one ESOL student, but many other former English Language Proficient students, several of which have shared with me their hopes to join the U.S. military when they graduate.